Monday, July 19, 2010

Continued Thoughts on 3D Filmmaking

This weekend I saw Despicable Me with the kids and the theatre we went to was only showing it in 3D. I have to admit, I wasn't really all that interested in seeing this one in that format. It was an enjoyable movie but the extra ticket price it was not worth. Right now, I think we're starting to see a pushback on those prices everywhere. Many releases are subpar movies that are getting a pseudo-3D bath at the last moment before being released. It's like customizing a Yugo... in the end, its still a Yugo.

So with this 3D experience, I argued earlier that the rules of creating it need to change. It's NOT filmmaking as usual and I think many of the compositional rules need to change. I have a few more thoughts now as well. I argued that I think depth of field should be opened up and allow the viewer to select what they want to look at. Something I never expected myself to say is that I also now think that the framerates need to go much higher than 24FPS. Camera movement also needs to slow down. The handheld and shaky cinema verte effect is awful in these movies. Let's look at Despicable Me.

Large, sweeping, horizontal movements call out for a higher frame rate. The motion blur and sweepings pans causes a severe flicker that the eye doesn't seem to get used to. Movement towards and away from camera on the z-axis is where 3D excels right now but its gimmicky in most cases.

I'm wanting to test frame rates in the 60+fps range. I know people are screaming reading this that it's going to have a dreaded video look. No it won't I'll argue. 3D has the chance to be NEW! It's being pushed like crazy right now and it's about to blow up in the studios faces. It needs to go beyond just a stereo effect and quickly be looked at as a whole new format. 60fps will fill in those gaps that the human eye is missing and bring out more life in the shot I believe.

I think composition and movement need to become more of what movies were in the 30's and 40's. Very controlled. Very basic. And also very dependent on the set design. Skaky camera movement goes against what we want to do with 3D, which is take in everything. Feel the depth and space of the shot. Become a part of it as an audience. Shaky and tight shots that don't allow us to "control" the space, feel forced and with the point made above about frame rate, are nothing but ugly annoyances telling us what to do. A sequence that worked fantastic in Despicable Me was towards the end where he has to walk a cable like a tightrope a mile up in the air. The camera played with the depth but also kept steady. It worked great. You could hear everyone in the place holding in their breath.

I know Stu just put out a great article on ProLost about techniques we appreciate overall as filmmakers. They are all correct too. These points I'm making fly in the face of many of those however. But again, this is an entirely different experience for the viewers. Now is the chance to make it real and truly different for audiences or see them push back and reject it. Better hurry and start experimenting quick.

No comments: